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2018 London homicide rate the highest this decade



The number of homicides in London this year is the highest since 2009, with the Mayor Sadiq Khan being warned he needs to take “drastic action” to cut violent crime in the capital.

There have been 125 violent deaths in London in 2018 so far, the latest being that of 18-year-old Jay Sewell who was stabbed to death in a fight in southeast London on Tuesday.

Six people are in custody on suspicion of Mr Sewell’s murder, including a 16-year-old boy, three men aged 22, 31 and 56 and two women aged 29 and 53.

Jay’s death comes as members of the London Assembly express concern about a lack of detail surrounding Mayor Khan’s much vaunted Violence Reduction Unit(VRU).

Jay Sewell was knifed to death in a fight in southeast London
Jay Sewell was knifed to death in a fight in southeast London

It aims to borrow from a successful scheme in Scotland which uses a public health approach to crime, where police, housing, health and care workers join together.

In a letter to Mr Khan members of the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee (LAPCC) expressed concern that the focus of the VRU was too narrow and concentrated too much on youth gangs.

It pointed out that half of the murders in London this year were of people over the age of 25 and almost 17% were the result of domestic violence.

It also claims that VRU’s initial £500,000 funding is “far from sufficient to resource the unit over the long term”.

Mr Khan's backing for another vote is likely to add pressure on Jeremy Corbyn
Sadiq Khan has set up the Violence Reduction Unit

The letter called for the VRU to:

:: Tackle all kinds of violence including domestic

:: Focus on prevention, especially adverse childhood experiences like domestic violence or abuse

:: Focus on school exclusions

:: Call on social media companies to take down all content that explicitly calls for the use of violence

:: Use a similar approach to the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy

LAPCC committee chairman Steve O’Connell said: “Londoners are heartbroken to hear about the near-daily carnage on our streets, the young lives lost and the misery for families and communities.

“The mayor’s new Violence Reduction Unit will need to demonstrate that it brings something different to the table. It cannot simply be a rebranding exercise of existing programmes and policies.

“We cannot emphasise enough how critical it is that the unit tackles the traumatic situations that children might live through in order to break the cycle of violence.

“We do not underestimate the challenge ahead but it’s time for the mayor to take even further and drastic action because London is crying out for change.”

A spokesman for the London Mayor said: “The Mayor is expanding City Hall’s long-term public health approach to tackling the root causes of all forms of violence by setting up a Violence Reduction Unit in London.

“He is leading from the front by working in partnership with the police, the health service, local authorities, community groups and youth services because it is clear there is no one single solution to tackling this complex issue.”

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